Two golfers watched a small plane crash into trees on the Sacramento, Calif., golf course after it appeared that the single-engine Piper Cherokee had lost power and the pilot attempted to land on the fairway. Michael Dalley and two others rushed to help, pulling the pilot and passenger out of the plane, shutting off the fuel, and stopping a gasoline leak before rescue crews arrived.
Two people were injured after a small plane crashed on Bing Maloney Golf Course in Sacramento, Calif., on the evening of August 23, the Sacramento (Calif.) News 10 reported.
The crash happened shortly after taking off from Sacramento Executive Airport around 6:35 p.m. The pilot was turning around and heading back to the airport when the plane crashed on the golf course, News 10 reported.
Michael Dalley and his friend were playing golf on the 13th tee when they heard the single-engine Piper Cherokee sputter. The plane was low and looked like it lost power, Dalley said, adding that it appeared that the pilot was attempting to land on the fairway, when it turned and crashed into trees. It landed upside down and pieces of the plane were strewn throughout a portion of the golf course, News 10 reported.
Dalley estimated he was about 80 yards away when the plane went down, News 10 reported.
“It was clearly within our line of fire,” Dalley said. “The pilot should get all credit in the world for maneuvering the aircraft without power.”
Dalley and his friend immediately rushed to help, News 10 reported.
“I could smell smoke. I could smell fuel. So we assessed the situation from there,” Dalley said. “But there were people in there.”
Dalley, his friend and another Good Samaritan pulled both the pilot and passenger out of the plane, News 10 reported.
“They were bleeding bad,” Dalley said. He also said they were in and out of consciousness. The pilot and the passenger were transported to a nearby hospital to get treatment for non-life threatening injuries, News 10 reported.
“It’s lucky we were here,” Dalley said. “They’re going to be able to kiss their kids and wives.”
The Sacramento Fire Department said the crash scene was deemed a Level 2 HAZMAT situation because of gasoline leaking from the plane. Fire crews used foam to douse the gasoline in order to prevent it from igniting. However, before crews arrived, Dalley, who is also a pilot and an Air Force veteran who served in the Gulf War, shut off the fuel and was able to stop the leak, News 10 reported.
“I think it’s just a miracle,” Sacramento Police Sgt. Andrew Pettit said. “Both the pilot and passenger survived and no one on the ground was injured.”
Authorities credit rescuers who jumped to help before emergency crews arrived, News 10 reported.
“I feel like a guy who was trying to take a combined shot out of the 13th tee and didn’t want anyone to die today,” Dalley said.
The plane was destroyed in the crash. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating its cause, News 10 reported.